St George and the Dragon

Today is “St George’s Day” in the UK. It’s not a national holiday, and is only marked in-so-much that most calendars have it marked in small-print. Quite how the entire country has entwined the story into the national identity and flag is something of a mystery.

While at infant school I remember doing a project on it – which probably had more to do with it being an “easy win” for the teachers. Kids love dragons, and the clue is in the title of the myth – “St George and the Dragon”.

Needless to say, there are thousands of public houses up and down the British isles called “The George and Dragon”.

Isn’t it amazing how an entirely mythical event – no more true than King Arthur, Camelot, Merlin, or any of that codswallop – is still marked, nearly two thousand years after it’s supposed to have happened?

Wikipedia tells us the following about the highly doubtful events that happened at some point prior to the year 303:

The legend of Saint George and the Dragon tells of Saint George (died 303) taming and slaying a dragon that demanded human sacrifices.The story goes that the dragon originally exhorted tribute from the villagers. When they ran out of livestock and trinkets for the dragon, they started giving up a human tribute once a year. This was acceptable to the villagers until a well-loved princess was chosen as the next offering. The saint thereupon rescues the princess chosen as the next offering. The narrative was first set in Cappadocia in the earliest sources of the 11th and 12th centuries, but transferred to Libya in the 13th-century “Golden Legend”.

Utter, utter, utter bollocks.

So we have a dragon that not only eats people, but also exhorts things from people. No doubt the dragon does this by sitting down and having a frank discussion with them? Or maybe it writes increasingly irate letters before turning up, knife and fork in hand ?

I imagine my school-project drawing of St George killing the dragon probably involved quite a lot of red crayon, and screaming from a lady tied to a tree. Knowing my early artistic endeavours, there were probably X-Wing fighters in the sky overhead too.

16 replies on “St George and the Dragon”

It’s interesting that dragons figure prominently in so many virgin sacrifice stories. Makes you wonder if they did actually exist at one time. Here in California we have Bigfoot but he’s very shy. So far he’s hasn’t extorted anyone that I know about.

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I think those legendary stories are fabricated by someone who was indeed bored to death. But look how long it has continued on? Even here in my little beach town in SW Florida, we had a legendary restaurant named St. Goerge & The Dragon. It was known as a fancy place, so we never dined there, but it had great reputation.

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I can think of a rather famous religious text that was obviously made up, but has somehow stood the test of time for 2000 years, had wars fought over it, and still causes family arguments. I almost wrote about it in the post, but didn’t quite dare ๐Ÿ™‚

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In the fourth grade, we learned the Canadian story of the Riel Rebellion. The ‘insurgents’ were ultimately captured, and hanged! We were all told to draw pictures of the hanging. (I mean, what kind of thing is it to ask a bunch of nine year olds to draw a hanging?) My drawing was roundly criticized by the teacher, because it looked too much like Riel was hanging from his waist, instead of his neck! The event so stuck in my head, that years later, I looked it up, and learned the truth of what Canada did to Riel, the first elected Metis Member of Parliament (they refused to let him take his seat, and then committed him to an insane asylum), because…you know, a French/Native couldn’t possibly be allowed into parliament! So unjust was the whole scenario that Riel returned to his riding and started an armed rebellion. He was caught, and hanged….by the neck.

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Once upon a time, there was a dragon. Now there isn’t. So, where did it go? George got rid….of course it’s true! I actually cracked up at your line ‘utter, utter, bollocks’… There is, of course, a strange truth behind St George, but it doesn’t involve a dragon and is very boring…it wouldn’t have filled the churches!

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I just jumped down a very deep internet rabbit hole reading about the origins of the George and the Dragon story. It’s all your fault ๐Ÿ™‚ It turns “George” was tortured by the Roman Army (under which he served) in order to turn him away from Christianity during a purge of various faiths from their ranks. His resistance became a story, then became legend, then didn’t so much have flowers added to it, as had an entire florist added to it by Christians about 600 years afterwards…

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hahaha don’t be blaming me for your obsessive behaviour – I have enough self loathing thanks! I have also been down the rabbit hole looking for signs to the strange symbolism connected to the st george story. I hear you about the martyrism but that doesn’t explain the dragon.

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